The Simpsons Voice Actor Reveals Surprising Origin Story Of 1 Of The Show's Most Iconic Catchphrases

Nancy Cartwright has personal history with one of her character's most popular slogans.
Voice actor Nancy Cartwright in 2012
Voice actor Nancy Cartwright in 2012
Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock

The Simpsons stalwart Nancy Cartwright has revealed the surprising origin of one of her character’s iconic catchphrases.

Nancy is best known to fans of the long-running animated series for lending her voice to Bart Simpson, a role she has played since the character first appeared on The Tracey Ullman Show in the late 1980s.

When The Simpsons got their own show in 1989, Bart became one of its break-out characters, synonymous with catchphrases like “ay caramba!”, “don’t have a cow, man” and, of course, “eat my shorts”.

And in a recent TikTok, Nancy revealed that she was actually responsible for the latter.

She told fans that she first became aware of the phrase when she was a squad leader in her high school’s marching band. Apparently, she and 200 of her cohorts found themselves chanting “eat my shorts” instead of their high school’s name.

Cut to “13, 16 years later”, and Nancy brought up the slogan again while ad-libbing as Bart at a table read for The Simpsons.

“It just like ‘locked it in’. And that became the first catchphrase for Bart,” she explained.


Where Bart’s catchphrase “Eat my shorts!” really came from! #eatmyshorts #bartsimpson #thesimpsons #simpsonsfan

♬ original sound - Nancy Cartwright

Mental Floss has pointed out that “eat my shorts” was previously used in films like Body Heat, Maximum Overdrive and, most notably, The Breakfast Club, but it was The Simpsons that really popularised it.

As well as voicing Bart Simpson, Nancy also plays a number of his schoolmates, most notably Ralph Wiggum and Nelson Muntz.

She’s also been part of Disney projects like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid TV series and the Lilo & Stitch spin-off Leroy & Stitch, as well as playing Chuckie in the Rugrats franchise in 2002.

Outside of her voice work, Nancy penned the book My Life As A 10-Year-Old Boy, which was later adapted into a one-woman play, and has been a prominent member of the Church Of Scientology since the early 1990s.


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